Enslaved Persons Index

The Johnston County Heritage Center is pleased to offer two online databases of enslaved persons' names found in both public and private records.

Search the Enslaved Persons Index
Search the Cohabitation (Enslaved Marriage) Index

Resources used to compile this index are listed below.

Copies of the records can be purchased online.  For more information about this database, or for more information about other resources available at the Heritage Center, please contact us directly at heritagecenter@johnstonnc.com.

Thank you for your interest in Johnston County and our African-American history and heritage.

Online Records

Click here for Online Document Searching, provided by the
Johnston County Register of Deeds. Allows search of Johnston County deed books prior to 1865, including many records of sales and gifts of enslaved persons. Books and page numbers can be found in the database.

The free website www.familysearch.org contains North Carolina probate and estate records naming enslaved persons in Johnston County, some of whom may or may not be included in our database.


Kinfolks of Johnston County : Abstracts of Deeds, 1759-1865, Volumes I and II, by Elizabeth E. Ross and Zelda B. Wood. Clayton, N.C. : Ross, 1993.

Johnston County, North Carolina, County Court Minutes, 1759-1850, in 18 volumes, by Weynette Parks Haun. Durham, N.C. : Haun, 1974-1995.

Johnston County, North Carolina, Will Abstracts, 1746-1870, revised edition (volume I & II combined), by Elizabeth E. Ross. Clayton, N.C. : Ross, 1991.

Stealing a Little Freedom : Advertisements for Slave Runaways in North Carolina, 1791-1840, edited by Freddie L. Parker. New York : Garland Publishing, 1994.


Baldy Sanders Papers – Private Collection 330
Records Baldy Sanders slaves and plantation operations from 1830 to 1868, with slave birth records dating to 1774.

Frances Secor Mitchener Hastings Gardner Papers – Private Collection 73
Papers included a copy of the report from the U.S. House of Representatives regarding a war claim for damages inflicted by the
Federal soldiers on April 11, 1865.

Sanders-Rose Collection – Private Collection 116
Papers kept by Ruth Sanders Rose of Smithfield associated with several branches of the Sanders family especially relating to White
Oak Plantation in Cleveland Township, which was owned originally by Reuben Sanders in the late eighteenth century
and by successive generations of the family until the 1930s.

Watson-Sanders Collection – Private Collection 162
Copies of a plantation account book belonging to Henry Bulls Watson.


Assessment of Slaves, 1863 Tax List of Johnston County.
In 1863, for the first time, the North Carolina General Assembly required tax listers to include slaves by name. Records for
only eight districts have survived; in the North Carolina State Archives.

Jacob A. Stevens Slave Sale, 1858 – North Carolina State Archives
Copy of a bill of sale from the State Archives.

Johnston County Estates (R. D. Atkinson) – NC State Archives
Copies of estate records from the State Archives regarding sales of slaves by Ruffin D. Atkinson.

North Carolina State Archives. Johnston County Slave Trials
Copies of court records of slave trials in the State Archives.

Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project.
First-person accounts of slavery collected 1936-1938 as part of the Federal Writers' Project of
the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Available at https://www.loc.gov/collections/slave-narratives-from-the-federal-writers-project-1936-to-1938/about-this-collection/.

Page last updated:  December 11, 2023